The Guidelines differentiate between exploration and development/production activities. The Guidelines recognise that, with the possible exception of biosecurity issues, exploration activities are generally short-term events that result in minimal and transient environmental impact.
Therefore, the requirements set out below refer specifically to petroleum development and production activities.
Operators shall undertake an environmental assessment to address significant potential impacts on the marine environment. The Operator will develop strategies, procedures and practices to manage and/or mitigate those specific impacts of their activities. The environmental assessment should take account of:
- the scope of the activity including its area, duration and intensity
- the cumulative impacts of the activity, both by itself and in combination with other activities in the marine environment
- the availability of technology and procedures to provide for environmentally safe operations
- the practicality of, and capacity to, monitor key environmental parameters and ecosystem components to assure a pro-active environmental management approach that is responsive to the results of the monitoring
- the capacity to respond promptly and effectively to incidents, particularly those with potential significant and adverse environmental effects
- ensuring that the quality of information provided for decision-making purposes, matches the scale and significance of potential adverse effects.
Annex 1 is an activity matrix that describes the activities, potential effects, and an indication of the applicable regulatory framework.
Health, Safety and Environment Case
Operators shall prepare and maintain a ‘Health, Safety and Environment Case’ to support its development and production activities. This is an extension of the ‘Safety Case’ as described in Schedule 4 of the Health and Safety in Employment (Petroleum Exploration and Extraction) Regulations 1999. International Industry best practice is to extend the scope of the Safety Case to include potential risks to/from the environment, thus delivering what Industry refers to as the ‘Health, Safety and Environment Case’. Another commonly used term is ‘Environmental Management Plan’.
The Health, Safety and Environment Case should accurately record all necessary environmental management and operational procedures, methodologies and contingency plans. It should identify any potential or actual environmental issues and effects the Operator’s activities may have and provide the company’s commitments and procedures to manage, monitor and mitigate potential and actual effects. The Health, Safety and Environment Case should also endeavour to achieve best international practices at reasonable costs.
Monitoring and Reporting
Consistent with the outcomes of the Environmental Assessment and the Health, Safety and Environment Case, Operators will undertake regular and effective self–monitoring of development and production activities. This may include, but is not limited to:
- development and maintenance of management systems to identify, control and monitor environmental risks
- monitoring environmental effects and assessing environmental performance during development and production phases
- modifying petroleum exploration or production activities if monitoring shows that they are causing or will result in adverse impacts on the marine environment.
Training and Education
Operators shall provide appropriate training and education to employees and contractors about environmental protection. This should include both how environmental protection is to be achieved and the environmental and other consequences of non–compliance with these procedures.